Developer to appeal after plan for hotel and student flats in St Andrews is thrown out

St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson at the Abbey Park Avenue  site which he believes would be better used for social housing.
St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson at the Abbey Park Avenue site which he believes would be better used for social housing.

Robertson Property has appealed against Fife Council for turning down its application to build a hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews.

Despite support from council officers, councillors on the North East planning committee felt this development of the Abbey Park Avenue site was not suitable within the existing neighbourhood.

The appeal has been submitted to the Scottish Government with a decision likely to be made in early December.

David Westwater, development director of Robertson Property, said: “Our proposals for Abbey Park address a recognised need for more hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews.

“Council officers in recommending our application for approval recognised the merits of the project and it is disappointing that this was overturned by the planning committee.

“Having considered our position, we remain committed to the proposed development which we believe will deliver significant benefits to the town while meeting the obligations of the Abbey Park Strategic Development Framework and FIFEplan.

“We look forward to the result of our appeal.”

St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson believes the site would be better used for social housing.

He said: “It’s disappointing the developer has chosen to appeal the decision taken by Fife Council to refuse the planning application.

“It was a unanimous decision taken by the committee, and there was a huge amount of opposition to the proposal by local residents who, quite rightly, viewed it as being incompatible with what is a quiet neighbourhood.

“As I’ve mentioned before, the overall Abbey Park site was a fantastic opportunity to development a lot of affordable housing, close to the town centre but, for a number of reasons – including loopholes in the council’s affordable housing policy – only 29 affordable flats have been delivered to date.

“The way the area has been developed has ended up maximising profits for developers, rather than providing what’s best for the community and, if the appeal is successful, an opportunity to address that, by developing affordable housing and/or some facilities that would benefit the community, such as a quality play park, will have been lost.”